ADVERTISEMENT

How to Price a Unicorn

April 2014 Pricing 1 Comment

Let’s assume that we have found a way to genetically modify a horse in order to create a unicorn.  How much would this unicorn be worth?  Well, we can go about this pricing predicament in a few different ways.

If we only breed one of these unicorns before letting them fall back into nonexistence, we could set up the sale of the unicorn as an auction format and see how high the bidding wars got.  One-of-a-kind items often auction off for very high dollar amounts, an old piece of gum, chewed by Britney Spears sold in 2004 for $14,000 on eBay (http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,692094,00.html).  You can buy an entire pack of unused chewing gum for around $1, so this rare piece that contains some celebrity DNA makes buyers open up their wallets, as do most rare things.  So although it requires more maintenance and care than chewed gum, one could safely assume that a unicorn would surely sell even higher.

What if we decided to produce more than one unicorn to sell?  First we would need to secure a patent on our unicorns that way we can keep a monopoly status on unicorn production while the idea is in its infancy.  We would also have to make sure that we sold only unicorns that had been neutered or all unicorns of the same sex, in order to prevent buyers from breeding their own unicorns and entering the market which would naturally cause the price to go down.

In a monopolistic industry we would be able to charge pretty much whatever price we wanted to, but what price would attract the most buyers?  A unicorn would be an incredibly rare pet, so we could price it according to other exotic pets which sell for a premium.  Perhaps the closest available substitute to the unicorn experientially would be a horse, so we could also consider pricing it based on horse prices.  Horses are priced based on many factors, some including their lineage, breed, age, and overall desirability.

Mary Unicorn April Fools

Having a unicorn would be such a rare experience though one might even consider pricing it in comparison to some other extremely rare and limited experience such as a space shuttle trip.  Space trips go for $250,000 according to Virgin Galactic’s website.  The big difference here is that the unicorn will require care for its entire lifetime; the space trips ends when you land back on Earth.  The longevity of the unicorn experience may be viewed positively and as a value addition by some, but others, perhaps looking for a unique story rather than a unique project, might value the pet less.

Contrary to popular belief, a traditional unicorn doesn’t fly, so buying it as an alternate means of transportation doesn’t really seem logical or efficient and once you got to your destination you would have the issue of where to “park” the unicorn.  You could make some money off your unicorn by selling rides and/or photos with him, just be sure to file for a sales tax permit!

Personally I am a big fan of unicorns, and I think that owning a real one would be priceless.  I honestly don’t even know how to really put a price tag on the joy I would derive from brushing my unicorn’s flowing mane and taking him for long rides on a sandy beach somewhere far far away from Chicago.

 

 



  • Katie Wei

    I agree a Unicorn would be priceless. I’d name mine Glitz. In my imaginary, Unicorn owning world, I’d hate to see a friendless Unicorn as that seems cruel. I think a limited production of unicorns (with future limited editions bred with distinguishing features- maybe pink?) would be ideal. I would consider the highest paying luxury items being sold at the time of the Unicorns grand entrance into the retail world and find a price at the top end of the range, then consider maintenance costs for any potential adjustment if needed. Potentially marketing a maintenance contract if I’m looking to stay in the Unicorn market.

    I think you’re right on with this post. Couldn’t have thought it through better myself.

About the author

Mary DeBoni is a Senior Pricing Analyst at Wiglaf Pricing. Before coming to Wiglaf Pricing, Mary spent her post-graduate-school years working as a data analyst and as an adjunct instructor of Economics and Statistics at Moraine Valley Community College and Richard J. Daley College. Mary is a member of the Professional Pricing Society. She holds a BA in Economics from Michigan State University and an MA in Economics from The University of Detroit Mercy.

Mary DeBoni
More by Mary DeBoni